7.2/10
16,774
109 user 26 critic

Defending Your Life (1991)

Trailer
1:48 | Trailer
In an afterlife way station resembling a block of hotels, the lives of the recently-deceased are examined in a court-like setting.

Director:

Albert Brooks

Writer:

Albert Brooks
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Albert Brooks ... Daniel Miller
Michael Durrell ... Agency Head
James Eckhouse ... Jeep Owner
Gary Beach ... Car Salesman
Julie Cobb ... Tram Guide
Peter Schuck Peter Schuck ... Stan
Time Winters ... Porter
Rip Torn ... Bob Diamond
Sharlie Stuart Sharlie Stuart ... Susan
Beth Black Beth Black ... Soap Opera Woman
Clayton Norcross ... Soap Opera Man
James MacKrell James MacKrell ... Game Show Moderator
Wil Albert Wil Albert ... Game Show Contestant
Sage Allen Sage Allen ... Game Show Contestant
Mary Pat Gleason ... Waitress
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Storyline

Just after being killed in a car crash, Daniel Miller finds himself in Judgment City, a waiting area for the newly deceased. While there, one must prove in a courtroom-style process that he successfully overcame his fears. Daniel meets Julia in an afterlife comedy club, and falls in love with her. Julia seems to have what it takes to move to the 'next stage' of existence, but Daniel's worried he'll be sent back - and lose the one person he loves so much. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The first true story of what happens after you die.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Daniel Miller dies on his own birthday. See more »

Goofs

One the day of his 39th birthday (and fatal car accident), Daniel say that in 2 more months he will have worked at the firm for 10 years. However, Lena shows Daniel taking the job at 4 months after his 29th birthday, not 2 months. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Daniel Miller: I was driving to work this morning thinking I will be here, in 2 months, it'll be 10 years. And you're like my real family. Isn't that tragic.
[laughter]
Daniel Miller: I got a call from my mother this morning, she wished me a happy birthday, and hinted around the fact that I wasn't making enough money. If you can call "are ya still making the same salary, honey" a hint. And my ex-wife used to say the same thing, although she never used the name "honey".
[laughter]
Daniel Miller: So, maybe in three years I can ...
[...]
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Connections

References West Side Story (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

That's Life
Written by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon
See more »

User Reviews

 
Eat All You Want!
18 July 2002 | by Boyo-2See all my reviews

Albert Brooks' view of death is very pleasing to me! Imagine eating all you want while dressed in a comfortable Star Trek outfit! Plus the weather is always great!

Unfortunately, that's only at Judgement City..who knows the circumstances at the other places?

Daniel (Brooks) dies in the first ten minutes, while listening to Streisand in his brand new car. He is whisked off to Judgement City where everyone's life is evaluated. You see glimpses of your own past and have to defend your life and yourself. There's a prosecutor and your trial will decide if you 'go on' or 'go back' but none of that really matters that much. Its really just a reason to see all the flashbacks and relive all the memories. Everything is based on fear - how you handle it, if you let it run your life and, most importantly, if you overcame it at all.

On night in a comedy club he meets Julia, played by Meryl Streep. They get along immediately and enjoy each other very much. She has a better hotel than he does and as the movie progresses you see Daniel as more of a loser than anything, while Julia was apparently in the other category. She is on a first-name basis with her lawyer and gets invited to a dinner party he throws. Daniel eats alone in a sushi bar (very funny scene!) that night.

There is one priceless scene that I closely identified with. Daniel is on his way to Hong Kong (this is a scene from his life, obviously) and finds he has seat 'B', meaning he's between two people. He can't even consider sitting in between two people for that long a trip so asks the flight attendant if there are any available seats in first class. She says there is one seat, but it costs $3000 more. He takes it! I would also do a lot to avoid seat 'B', too!

Albert Brooks movies are never laugh riots, but they are not supposed to be. They are pleasantly amusing, memorable and thoughtful. This movie falls into the category too but does contain a couple of very funny scenes - during his 'trial' there is what seems to be a 'blooper' tape of his life that is very funny and played strictly for laughs. Its a little disrespectful of the character but Brooks never minds portraying himself as vulnerable and human.

Outcome is very satisfying. Streep underplays beautifully and the two actors have a considerable amount of chemistry. Rip Torn, Lee Grant and Buck Henry are the lawyers, and all of them are servicable. 8/10.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

5 April 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Defending Your Life See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,622, 24 March 1991

Gross USA:

$16,371,128

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,371,128
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Geffen Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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